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PLoS One. 2011 Apr 19;6(4):e18607. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018607.

Scoring protein relationships in functional interaction networks predicted from sequence data.

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  • 1Computational Biology Group, Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.


The abundance of diverse biological data from various sources constitutes a rich source of knowledge, which has the power to advance our understanding of organisms. This requires computational methods in order to integrate and exploit these data effectively and elucidate local and genome wide functional connections between protein pairs, thus enabling functional inferences for uncharacterized proteins. These biological data are primarily in the form of sequences, which determine functions, although functional properties of a protein can often be predicted from just the domains it contains. Thus, protein sequences and domains can be used to predict protein pair-wise functional relationships, and thus contribute to the function prediction process of uncharacterized proteins in order to ensure that knowledge is gained from sequencing efforts. In this work, we introduce information-theoretic based approaches to score protein-protein functional interaction pairs predicted from protein sequence similarity and conserved protein signature matches. The proposed schemes are effective for data-driven scoring of connections between protein pairs. We applied these schemes to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis proteome to produce a homology-based functional network of the organism with a high confidence and coverage. We use the network for predicting functions of uncharacterised proteins.


Protein pair-wise functional relationship scores for Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain CDC1551 sequence data and python scripts to compute these scores are available at

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